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Education Funding

Obama Will Give Booker T. Washington High Commencement

By Alyson Klein — May 10, 2011 1 min read

It’s official! Booker T. Washington High School, in Memphis, Tenn., won the second round of the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. That means President Barack Obama will give the graduation speech.

The school has had a jump in its grad rate lately, according to the White House press release, increasing from 55 percent in 2007 to 81.6 percent in 2010.

This year’s commencement challenge, the second ever, caused some public relations headaches for the White House. Only a relative handful of schools applied initially, and the administration ended up extending the application deadline.

The other two finalists were the rural Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport, Wash., and High Tech High, in San Diego.